Yours truly takes to the airwaves to speak out against parade ordinance
Time: 5:26 PM
State Bond Commission approve head start grant (and Boughton breathes easier...)
Time: 2:18 PM
This afternoon, the State Bond Commission approved the allocation of 600,000 dollars to the Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc. to assist in the building of a new head start facility on Main Street.
What Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell thought would be her last Bond Commission meeting didn’t go as planned, so she picked up the pieces and tried again Wednesday to borrow about $20 million for a number of capital improvements in cities and towns across the state.
The two Republican lawmakers on the 10-member Bond Commission didn’t make it easy for her. Rep. Vincent Candelora of North Branford voted against all nine agenda items and Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen voted against seven of the nine items.
When it comes to the Mayor Boughton and his handling of the city budget, this bond was rather important. Democratic Town Committee chairwoman Lynn Taborsak explain the matter in her News-Times letter to the editor.
It looks like there has been another shotgun wedding at City Hall. The City Council had to hurry up and agree to let Union Savings Bank buy the old police station.
Why the hurry? It's because Mark Boughton put the revenue from the sale of the building in the city's (May 3, 2010) operating budget. The closing must take place before June 30, 2011.
He used to complain about his Democratic colleagues in the General Assembly using one-shot revenues to fill holes in the state budget.
Now he is doing the same thing.
How does this relate to the upcoming budget...
Listen Mark, if you fill a hole in your operating budget with temporary dough, the hole magically reappears the next year and every year thereafter. Then you have a real problem.
You have to lay people off, throw collective bargaining out the window or sell some more assets.
Layoffs? Hmm...where have I heard that line before.
He said for Danbury, that means there are no sacred cows in the budget
"Everything is on the table. You'll see layoffs," Boughton said.
Imagine of this bond wasn't approved, placing the city's deal with Union Savings into jeopardy. Remember, this deal is VERY important because Boughton has already spent this money in the current budget.
VIDEO: Danbury City Council Ad-Hoc committee evaluate building permit fees
Time: 7:42 PM
(h/t to Danbury Live's John Neumiller for the footage).
HatCityBLOG EXCLUSIVE: Paul Rotello speaks out on parade ordinance fiasco
Time: 4:17 PM
Since the issue was first debated over three and a half years ago, Councilman Rotello has been instrumental in countering misinformation with the ordinance as well as detailing the problems with the legislation.
Part 1: Thoughts on Mayor Boughton dissolving the ordinance ad-hoc committee:
Part 2: Concerns with the ordinance remain unanswered
Part 3: Moving forward
Highlights of the parade ordinance (click here to download the entire ordinance-PDF FILE)
ARTICLE II: PARADES AND PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES
Sec 11-15 (a):
Parade means any march, demonstration, procession, or motorcade, which the parade permit applicant believes will consist of more than twenty-five (25) persons, animals, or vehicles or a combination thereof upon the streets, sidewalks, parks or other public property owned by or under the control of the City of Danbury, for a common purpose as a result of prior planning that interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon said streets, sidewalks, parks, or other public property.
Sec 11-15 (d):
Public assembly means any meeting, demonstration, picket line, rally or gathering, which the parade permit applicant believes will consist of more than twenty-five (25) persons, held on the streets, sidewalks, parks, or other public property owned by or under the control of the City of Danbury, for a common purpose as a result of prior planning that interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic upon said streets, sidewalks, parks, or other public property.
Sec 11-22 Standards for issuance
(a): The Chief of Police shall issue a permit as provided for herin when, from a consideration of the application and from such other informaiton as may otherwise be obtained, he finds that:
(1) The conduct of the parade or public assembly will not substantially interrupt the safe and orderly movement of the other pedestrian or vehicular traffic contiguous to its route or location;
(2) The conduct of the parade or public assembly will not require the diversion of so great a number of City police officers to properly police the line of movement and the areas contiguous thereto as to prevent normal police protection of the City;
(3) The concentration of persons, animals, and vehicles at public assembly points of the parade or public assembly will not unduly interfere with proper fire and police protection of, or ambulance service to, areas contiguous to such public assembly areas;
(4) The conduct of the parade or public assembly is not reasonably likely to cause injury to persons or property;
(5) The parade or public assembly is scheduled to move from its point of origin to its point of termination expeditiously and without unreasonable delays en route;
(6) Adequate sanitation and other required health facilities are or will be made available in or adjacent to any public assembly areas;
(7) There are sufficient parking places near the site of the parade or public assembly to accommodate the number of vehicles reasonably expected;
(8) No parade or public assembly permit application for the same time and location has already been granted or has been received and will be granted;
(9) No parade or public assembly permit application for the same time but a different location has already been granted or has been received and will be granted, and the police resources required for that prior parade or public assembly are so great that in combination with the subsequent proposed application, the resulting deployment of police services would have an immediate and adverse effect upon the welfare and safety of persons and property; and
(10) No event is scheduled elsewhere in the City where the police resources required for that event are so great that the deployment of police services for the proposed parade or public assembly would have an immediate and adverse effect upon the welfare and safety of persons and property.
Don't feel sorry for Ibolya Balazs
Time: 3:35 PM
Complete with a warm and fuzzy photo of her with her puppies at her City Ale House bar, Balazs' seems like the victim in Dirk Perrefort's write-up.
Balazs said she would like to work with the city and is looking to either sell or find foster homes for the dogs. She added that she typically sells the dogs for between $500 and $700 each, depending on its age, breed and sex.
She has six Labrador retrievers, four dachshunds and four papillon puppies, Balazs said, adding that the papillons were fathered by a Canadian champion.
"I know they want to push me out," she said, "but I have no place to go."
Balazs, who said she holds a kennel license in Waterbury but not in Danbury, said she treats the dogs like her children, cooking them chicken soup and rice on a daily basis.
"I only eat good organic foods and I give the same thing to my dogs," she said, adding that she's been breeding the dogs for about three years. "I love my dogs. I've had dogs all my life."
Balazs added that she may try to appeal the city's order, or apply for a zoning variance.
If this is all you knew about Balazs' situation, then there's a good chance that your heart would go out for her...but trust me, don't shed a tear for this person.
Here's the originals of Balazs' problem, reported accurately by Mark Langlois over at the Danbury Patch:
Neighbors started complaining about the dog odor coming from 253 Main St., a year ago, said Robert Steinberg, who owns the building next door at 255 Main St. He complained to city officials on behalf of his tenants.
In the last 30 days, both city and state officials have cited the property owner for problems related to raising 25 puppies in a downtown apartment.
The pet owner is under a city cease and desist order for running an illegal dog kennel in a second-floor apartment. On a hot summer day, the puppies hang out near the windows and people could see them from Main Street, Steinberg said. He said it was an open secret.
Steinberg's building is next door to Balazs' building. His second floor tenant is Irene's Tailoring & Alterations.
"When it's hot, you can smell the dogs," Steinberg said. The puppies could be heard barking through the wall on the second floor of Steinberg's building Wednesday. The tailoring shop was closed. "She has brides and their families up here. She has to play music."
Danbury Fire Marshal James Johnson said the building at 253 Main St., doesn't meet fire code and is a threat to the buildings on either side. The stairway from the ground floor up to the second and third floor doesn't have fire-rated walls or doors. A fire that starts on the ground floor would quickly burn its way to the third floor.
Johnson said the second floor of 253 Main St., is heated by space heaters, and one had a 100-foot extension cord that was hot to the touch. Both the second and third floors are partially or entirely gutted, respectively.
The second floor is zoned for an apartment. It is partially gutted, and would not meet city requirements for an apartment. Zoning on Main Street does not allow a kennel.
Members of the UNIT, the city's unified neighborhood inspection team, visited the building in mid-November, said Shawn Stillman, director of the UNIT. He said he'd had complaints about the dog spell for months, but the owner wouldn't let him inspect the house.
Stillman said when he finally inspected the apartment in November, it smelled so bad of urine and feces he had to breath through his mouth. He said the dog feces and urine was on some paper, but a lot of it was on the gutted apartment's subflooring.
When the city workers found 25 or 26 puppies in the apartment, they called it a zoning violation. In the Nov. 17, cease and desist order, the Zoning Enforcement order reads, "A dog kennel is being operated on the 2nd floor of this building. The approved use for the 2nd floor is a 2 bedroom apartment with a full bathroom." That puts the owner, Balazs, in a bind, because the state Department of Agriculture oversees the issuance of kennel licenses. Balazs doesn't have one in Danbury. State inspectors from the Animal Control Division visited the residence last week, and put a quarantine on the animals for the next two weeks because of the canine parvovirus. A Danbury veterinarian alerted the state to the presence of the virus. Balazs can't sell or move the dogs, because one or more of them may be suffering from the canine parvovirus. The disease was recognized in 1978, and it spread worldwide within two years.
If all your information came from the News-Times article, you wouldn't know about the details of Balazs' situation, such as the smell of urine and feces all over the illegal kennel, the constant barking from her dogs, the complaints from her neighbors FOR MONTHS, her refusal to allow the city U.N.I.T to inspect her home, etc.
In short, don't feel sorry for Balazs' plight...in fact, hope that this illegal kennel is shut down for good.
Mark Boughton and Joe Cavo think you're stupid
Time: 3:07 PM
When it comes to why the parade ordinance ad-hoc committee was dissolved, how does Mark Boughton and Joe Cavo get away with quotes like this?
Council president Joe Cavo said the committee never met because there wasn't a need.
"We haven't received any complaints about the ordinance being too restrictive," Cavo said. "If we had, we certainly would have revisited it."
Mayor Mark Boughton, who disbanded the committee during last week's council meeting, said the fears of those who were against the ordinance three years ago never panned out.
"It's worked pretty well," he said. "We haven't received any complaints about the permit process, and prior to the ordinance we were receiving complaints all the time."
I'll make this simple…these statements are BOLDFACE LIES.
I understand that it's been three and a half years since the parade ordinance was debated, therefore most people might not recall the problems with this piece of … let me try and explain things...
”We haven't received any complaints about the ordinance…”.
When the Common Council debated the adoption of the parade ordinance [May 2007], opponents of the proposal voiced their concerns in public comment.
One of the chief concerns with the ordinance stems from the law's restrictions. In layman's terms, if you organize a group of 25 or MORE people at a public place THAT interferes with vehicular and pedestrian traffic, then you have to get an application from the police department. For instance, TECHNICALLY, lets say that you schedule a school trip that focuses on the history of Danbury. Now, this trip includes students walking from the Danbury Library down Main Street towards the Historical Society. Now if you have more than 25 people in your group AND you interfere with the normal flow of pedestrian traffic (sidewalk) AND you know that there is a parade ordinance, TECHNICALLY you're in violation of the ordinance and could be subject to a 100 dollar fine.
Sounds crazy right? Well, that was just ONE of several problems with the ordinance that was talked discussed in great detail during the ordinance debate.
Now, here's the kicker!
During the debate when this VERY ISSUE was raised, ad-hoc committee chairperson Mary Saracino (a.k.a., the person who chaired the committee that drafted the ordinance), moved that the ENTIRE proposal be sent back to committee for revision.
The council voted 10-9 to send the ordinance to committee for revision (including four Republicans) AND the mayor cast an illegal vote to block the measure.
NEXT, Minority Leader Tom Saadi proposed an amendment in which the number of people that would trigger the ordinance would be increased from 25 to 100 individuals.
Makes sense right? Well, that amendment was vote 10-9 in favor of the amendment YET Mayor Boughton cast an illegal vote to block THAT measure.
Think I’m kidding? Well, from May 2007, here's video footage of everything I just outlined.
After Mayor Boughton casted his illegal’s votes, here’s what Council President had to say about the council’s votes…
Yeah…pretty crazy huh?
After the vote, I interviewed several council members to get their reaction to Cavo's comment and the mayor's illegal blockage.
Later, days later a still irritated Saadi talked to the Danbury Democratic Town Committee about what happened at the May meeting…
Need I say more?
We haven’t received any complaints about the permit process…”
Talk about parsing words!
As the mayor knows, the problem with the ordinance had NOTHING to do with the permit process. Hell, there was NEVER a problem with the permit process…a process that's been in place for as long as I remember…
As the mayor and city corporation counsel stated, the origins of this idiotic ordinance had to do with the World Cup games celebrations (and IMO the immigrant right rallies from 2005 and 2006). The other minor complaint had to do with the certain groups being pissed off that they had to pay for police services while other groups didn't pay a dime.
Heck, the year after the ordinance was enacted, the mayor EVEN ADMITTED to problems with the ordinance.
Again, here's yours truly questioning the mayor about the status of the ad-hoc committee back in 2008…listen carefully.
BOUGHTON: …the bad news is we probably run up about 150,000 in police charges for all the parades and things that go on in the city…those numbers, they escalate quickly, so that's been a problem….there are other questions about the amount of people, and I think one of the things that we'll look is for recommendations from the chief [Al Baker] is "is this working, are you turning people down", I don't we ever turn someone down but the good news is that people have been really good about coming in and getting a permit so we've been able to organize…I'll talk to the committee chair and if there is a burning issue, I sure we can look into that…
Please remember, these are just a couple of problems with the ordinance…
Now in light of this information, which Perrefort and other reporters knew beforehand, why on Earth can Boughton/Cavo get away with their misleading statements?
Time: 1:31 PM
So lets see, Jean Natale made a series a monumental screw-ups in her capacity as City Clerk in the last couple of weeks YET she's currently spending her entire day laughing and organizing a "party" at City Hall?
Earth to Ms. Incompetent, maybe you can spend more time fixing the City Council agendas for the last four years on the city website. Better yet, just DO YOUR JOB and stop the screw-ups that's cost the city $$$$$$$$ in wasted public notices.
GUEST POST: Deficits, Delusions and Deceits (Part 2 of 2)
Time: 4:14 PM
Part II: “Let them Eat Credit”
The American process of political thinking and its results I described in Part I as too much non-thinking. A substantial sector of the public seems to believe empty headedness is a truer form of democracy. Instead they like wailing and railing against almost anything. Tea Party candidates are largely working this vacuum. Put a different way it is magical thinking, the process small children and not so small children use when they either have problems organizing their thoughts or not enough experience with which to make the necessary comparisons. It is also a public mental state encouraged by major money interests trying to defeat laws and regulations that might keep them from profiting from the mayhem they create.
Instead of the democracy we think we have, we are experiencing the results of one of the most pernicious lies of history—that private, propertied self-interest known as possessive individualism is a benefit to us all. Like all other cultural lies this economic lie has just enough truth on its face to cover its failures and allow it to be rendered safe for public consumption. Millions have been expended in just the last few years by oligarchs of wealth to buy up and control the major media of radio, TV, newspapers and magazines so as to insure that what is said is politically ‘safe’ for the public to hear. This is most obviously true when this capitalist process is viewed historically. For capitalism has evolved and that evolution has been a signature event in undermining our democracy just as it has been in undermining our ecology and the health of people and the planet.
When any corporation, or moneyed individual for that matter, can by means of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen United, secretly use virtually endless amounts of money to buy Congress and state legislatures, the very integrity of the democratic process is attacked and effectively dismantled. Such money is expended to elect legislators who are paid to enshrine the belief that self-interested accumulation will benefit us all. The attempt is to legitimate the grotesque accumulation of wealth now in existence. Here are some statistics to frame this highly injurious evolution of American capitalism.
- Four hundred families now own $1.27 trillion of the wealth in the United States. Their average annual income in 2007 was $345 million each. Their tax rates which have been cut in half over the last 15 years are now 16.6%.
- The top 10% of income ‘earners’ in 2007 received very close to 50% of all income in the U.S. Such top decile families have annual incomes above $109,000.
What is interesting here is the spread between the ‘400’ and their average of $345 million a year and the lowest income that makes the top decile, $109,000 annually. Quite obviously in order to skew the statistics that greatly other figures are decisive:
· 24% of income went to 1% of the population.
· 6% of all earnings went to 0.1% of the population, about 15,000 families. They make at least $11.5 million a year.
· Each of the 400 is worth at least $1 billion.
· Just as impressive is this concentration of wealth for the top 10% has climbed steadily since 1978 from 33% to the present 50%
· From 1980 to 2005, 80% of total income went to the top 1% of income earners.
· Even though economic productivity increased by 20% from 2001 to the present, NONE of the remuneration for that increase reached middle and lower income people whose wages remained stagnant.
Paul Krugman has called it all The Great Divergence in his book by that name.
Mainstream economists have labored strenuously to find explanations for this distortion of value in the nation’s income in market value terms. Few, if any have done so successfully though they have tried. The reason for the expenditure of energy was so that no important group or class could be blamed. As for any suggestions for everyday people in coping with such a shrinking and stressing of their lives, Raghuram G. Rajan, a business school professor at the University of Chicago, has argued that “let them eat credit” has been the political establishment’s answer to this reprehensible condition.
Inequality has been the result. Inequality that has surpassed that of the early 1900s when that ‘golden age’ of blatant wealth of the upper 1% garnered only 18% of national income compared to today’s 24%. Why did an American public stand for it? Lie down for it would be more descriptive. There were riots in the early 1900s, massive strikes and protest. Nothing today compares though the robbery has been greater. Perhaps there is a partial explanation in the following chart by Professor Rajan derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The crucial evidence is in the 4th and 5th columns. A public which is seeing its wages apparently rising by the amounts in the 4th column may well think it is doing better without realizing that inflation is stealing their income in gobs. And of course, this relationship had been going on for far longer than 2002, since at least 1980. Only the 1% and 0.1% portion of the 90th percentile were making mammoth gains as invisible to the everyday citizenry as it is in this chart
Thus a country’s citizens who believe themselves to be free are in the most danger of entering servitude. A situation, of course, which approaches slavery when no end of the condition is contracted for and everyone is chained in place for health benefits, staring at high unemployment rates around them and with very little discretion as to choice or a sufficient savings cushion to carry them through a change in employment even if they took the risk.
The coming election watered as it is by corporate wealth is shaping up to be a battle for reality. The reality is that the nation is democratic only in name and theory, but has become a peasantry of indentured servants. As such the vast majority are beholden to shrinking wages offered by wealthy oligarchs fattened in their expansive homes seeing nothing as they ride in their too many limousines. To avoid any revelation of that reality, the wealthy are extending every effort and mountains of money to make a smokescreen of unreality. The ranting claims being made paid for by corporations or their ruling plutocrats seek to obscure who was responsible for and who controlled and still controls our deadbeat economy and therefore who damages our squashed lives within it.
In this swamp of national existence whatever opposition exists or arises against it cannot proceed by merely twitching and feeling good, spewing flammable rhetoric and anger sky high and feeling satisfied by whatever destruction they cause. It must be about the people reinstating their rightful place and obtaining their rightful control by demanding intelligent public policy that benefits everyone. That means shrinking inequality by a clear transparency of economic knowledge made available to the general public at regular intervals. That public must then make that identity for itself that has the organization and the will to demand that capitalism be either democratized or recognized as an illegitimate social and economic system.
 Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), The Nation, July 22, 2010.
 Timothy Noah. “The Great Divergence.” Slate, First in the series “The United States of Inequality.” September 3, 2010, p. 2
 Joe Frontiera. The Leadership Playlist: Five general rules for the billionaires club. Washington Post.com, September 27, 2010, p. 1
 Noah, op. cit.
 Paul Krugman (pronounced kru:gmen) is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public And International Affairs at Princeton University among other locales and op-ed columnist for the The New York Times.
 Noah, op.cit, p.39.
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